Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Movie Review Thread 2007

I did a shortened version of this for 2006 and figure it'll be fun to try it out for an entire year this year, assuming I don't give up. But until I do, here's the movie review thread of 2007 cataloging all of the movies I watch.

Beerfest (7.5/10): This is just a big, dumb, sophomoric comedy in the vein of Animal House, Strange Brew, and Half Baked... and it's actually pretty decent, for what it aims for. You know what you're in for just by the name. This is a movie about beer, drinking it, making fun of stereotypes (in relation to beer), and having a cookie cutter plot that lets the writers make obvious jokes (about beer). So really there isn't a lot else to say, except that you'll like this if you like dumb comedies (about beer) and you'll probably hate it if you only go for that "intellectual" comedy (which usually isn't about beer).

Thank You for Smoking (7.5/10) : Going into this movie I didn't know if I should have expected a dark comedy, a dramatic comedy, a drama with some comedic elements, or a pretentious indie flick. After seeing it, I feel that it was really not as easily classified into one of those genres as I'd thought. There is a hefty dose of pointed comedy, but there's also a few "life lessons" moments, albeit not as heavily handed as they could have been, and some interesting drama. It straddles drama, comedy, and after school special quite well and one of the main reasons it can is the performance of Aaron Eckhart. His over the top, likeable, bad guy keeps the movie flowing at a crisp, humorous pace.

The Descent (8/10): Usually I go to horror movies for the cheese factor and to see how many cliches I can pick out before the movie is over. Rarely is a horror movie actually good. The Descent is one of those few. The reason that it was good is that before it dives headfirst into the monster fighting and chase scenes, there is a good amount of character building, even though it is somewhat a standard build-up, as well as the simple psychological horror of being in a tightly confined cave. The first half of the movie is dedicated to pulling the viewer into the tight confines of the cave and conveying the sense of urgency when they realize they need to get out. Then once you add the monsters and the bloody twists of the second half of the movie you have one hell of an interesting and gripping horror movie.

Best in Show
(9/10): Who would have imagined that a mockumentary about a dog show, of all things, could be so laugh out loud funny? I didn't. Christopher Guest knew it could work, though, and along with Eugene Levy he wrote and directed one of the funniest movies that I've seen in the last couple of years. The comedy comes directly from the subtle over the top parodying of the dog show personas. The biggest laughs come when a scene you know is parody feel like they're the real thing. You know there are people out there just like the slack jawed yokel with the blood hound who dabels in ventriloquism or the flamboyantly gay man who revels in his homosexuality or the midwestern small town couple who live for the dog show. It's surreal and utterly real at the same time. And that's funny as hell if you ask me.

Lucky Number Slevin (7/10): It's very apt that the premise of this movie is one of mistaken identity as that is what happened when I saw this film. I expected it to be a high velocity action flick, but instead it was more of a methodical, noir caper flick. The action comes in spurts. The dark comedy even more so. The performances from all involved (Bruce Willis, Josh Hartnett, Lucy Lui, Ben Kingsley, and Morgan Freeman) were great and heavily noir inspired. The plot will keep you guessing... that is, until you guess what the general idea of what the ending will be by the second act. Hartnett's character gives it away by the manner in which he takes his case of mistaken identity. Still, it's a good movie and one of the few that I can stand seeing Lucy Lui in. If you want a solid mix between Layer Cake and a condensed version of Ocean's Eleven, this is probably the perfect movie for you.

Narc (8/10): Solid film. Ray Liotta and Jason Patrick both turn in fine performances in this noir-ish modern police drama. Easily the strongest part of this film is the closing in which you are presented with varying recountings of the movie's key plot element. Based upon the development of the characters throughout the film, making a snap judgment as to which is reality is not as cut, dried, and obvious as many films that attempt the same stylistic maneuver. Each character, especially Patrick and Liotta, grow into a character solidly living in the gray as opposed to either in the black or the white. Easily one of the better cop dramas in the last five years.

An Inconvenient Truth (7.5/10): As a documentary, this is a great film. As a motivational piece, this is a decent film. As a scientific piece, this is a pretty terrible film. I like that the topic of global warming is getting so much exposure because of Gore, his presentations, and this film, but I was hoping to see more actual hard science to show what we're doing to our planet that is so different. The only hard facts that were ever really presented were the rising carbon dioxide levels. Sure, that's a factor in regards to global warming, but there has to be more than just that one factor. He convinced the heck out of me that CO2 is on a horrendous rising trend, but I'm not convinced it is the only factor affecting our environment. Like I said, though, it was interesting to see all that Gore is trying to do to get information out to the world.

Employee of the Month (6/10): I didn't expect much going into this movie so I was probably able to tolerate it a little more than I usually would. The previews make it seem like a comedy, but it's really not. It is more of a romantic comedy, which unfortunately keeps Dane Cook pretty tame. I know there's a lot of hate out there for the guy, but I manage to tolerate him all right. He did a decent enough job in this movie playing the guy trying to get the girl yet stay a part of the "guys group" at work. Jessica Simpson, however, was as bland and worthless as usual. Again, the only reason she probably got the part were her plastically fake face and boobs. In the end, however, this is a passable date movie that won't offend, but won't impress either.

The Prestige (9/10): Christopher Nolan has done it again. His ability to present time shifting, keep-you-guessing, interesting pieces of work pays off in this film about two magicians in a constant battle to one-up one another. The building hate, tension, espionage, and one-upping that drives both Christian Bale's and Hugh Jackman's characters definitely pays off in the end. Even though there are many subtle clues to the ending tossed throughout, if you aren't trying to put the pieces together, the end gives you a great reveal to what has been happening throughout the film. The performances all around were great, except for a phoned in bit of acting by Scarlett Johansson. This deserves at least one watching if not a couple.

The Illusionist (7.5/10): This film was very similar in nature to The Prestige in that it focused on magicians, revenge, and a mystery that leads to a big reveal at the conclusion of the movie. In many ways it pales when compared to The Prestige, but if graded on its merits alone, it is a relatively good film. Edward Norton, as is usually the case, turns in a great performance. Jessica Biel is a bit wooden, but conveys her character well enough. What really drags the movie down is the final third of the film as it ventures into topics of mysticism, which doesn't actually play into the story of the film all that well, especially when the big reveal comes at the end. After the big reveal, the final third of the film feels almost pointless, but nonetheless it set the correct mood for the ending. With a few changes, this film could have been much more entertaining than it was, but as it stands you could definitely do worse.

Slither (7/10): I really don't know how to classify this movie. It's definitely a horror movie... but it's also a comedy, which isn't a unique combination... but it's also has a mix of sci-fi and police drama added in and in the second half of the film it goes from horror movie to zombie flick. Thankfully Nathan Fillon puts on a good performance, the special effects are decent, and the story is over-the-top enough to keep you constantly rolling your eyes and laughing all the while squirming in your chair. It's a big, dumb, hokey, movie that was made for the sole purpose of vegging out to it, so if you go into it with that attitude, you won't be disappointed.

Find Me Guilty (7/10): Chop off about a half an hour or at least 20 minutes from this movie's run time and you'd have a solid film. At its current length of over 2 hours, it felt a little bit stretched out and as interesting of a character as Vin Diesel plays, it's hard to keep interested in some parts. The story, based upon the landmark trial of Jack DiNorscio, is definitely an interesting one, but I found myself having a hard time caring about the characters. Even the wise-cracking Diesel was only lovable to a point. That being said, there wasn't really anything outright wrong with the film - it was quite well done - I just had a hard time getting into it.

Little Miss Sunshine (8.5/10): If a family like this exists in real life, I'd pay to be a fly on the walls of their home. This story about a family, consisting of a little girl who isn't quite beauty pageant material, her trying to be a good mother mom, her motivational speaking father, her cocaine snorting & foul mouthed grandfather, her brother who hates everyone and has vowed never to speak, and her suicidal gay uncle, taking a road trip to the Little Miss Sunshine Beauty Pageant is one that is darkly funny and tremendously interesting. At times surreal and at others very down to earth, this film is a wonderful piece of modern comedy.

300 (9/10): Let's just get this out of the way right now--this movie wasn't meant to be a plot-heavy, story driven affair. It was created solely to display action, and tons of it. All of the visual mayhem was a treat for my action loving eyes. The choreography was stunning, especially when you take into account that many fight scenes used one camera instead of jump cutting back and forth all over the place. This small item made all the difference. And of course, there was all of the usual bad-assery to be expected from a movie of this pedigree. Solid, solid action film.

Zodiac (8.5/10): David Fincher turns in his most straight forward film in Zodiac. At over 2 and a half hours in length, this is most definitely a slow, building type of film, but rarely was I ever disinterested or felt that the movie was dragging. True facts were the basis for the story of this film, and you never once feel like a scene or conversation was overly embellished, which is often the problem with films loosely based on facts. There were also grade A performances from then entire cast, solidifying this movie as one that should be seen.

Blades of Glory (7.5/10): It might have been more appropriate to simply call the movie Talledega Nights on Ice, but that probably wouldn't have marketed as well. A lot of the same style of comedy from Will Ferrell's other movies permeates this film, which is rife with gay jokes, faux machismo posturing jokes, and Ferrell's ability to make odd phrases work. Some spots just don't come off as funny as the writers probably thought they would, but for the most part this is a big, dumb comedy.

Children of Men (8.5/10): I had extremely high hopes for this film and, for the most part, they were fulfilled. This is a film focused more on creating an atmosphere of utter hopelessness, emptiness, and dystopia than on story telling. Because of this, I let some of the plot holes go and allowed some of the unexplained parts of the movie stay unexplained. If you're not into watching movies bent on creating a mood instead of focusing on telling a story, then you might still want to check this out for no reason other than the final "chase" scene. It's a brutal, extremely well choreographed chase that is filmed completely with one camera.

The Manchurian Candidate (5/10): Denzel Washington, how about you try playing a character other than Denzel Washington sporting a different name in your next movie? Washington again plays himself as a military man who somehow uncovers a plot to put a puppet in the seat of the president. There are no real twists or turns in the movie. The one twist is overwhelmingly obvious and can be seen coming a mile away. The acting is all pretty subpar. There's just not a lot to make you want to watch, other than to keep hoping for something interesting to happen, and then it never does.

Waking Life (8/10): It's hard to call this a film when it is much more akin to a training video that could be utilized to sell inbound college students on picking philosophy as their major. Don't get me wrong, I love intelligent movies, and this is definitely one, but it is more so a smattering of philosophical ideas thrown at the viewer, which manages to raise a plethora of questions, but never really explores any of them. Used as a springboard for sparking conversation with your more intelligent movie-going buddies, this film is a complete success. You'll feel a little differently if you watch it on your own or with your dumb frat-house buddies.

Borat (7.5/10): I'm torn on this movie. Sure, there are some ridiculously hilarious parts, but the majority of the movie is just Borat being over-the-top annoying to screw with people. I'm definitely a fan of seeing people get screwed with, but at times it just wasn't that funny. Other times, however, it was great. One scene, which I'm sure will make most people cringe, involved about 10 minutes of a naked Borat wrestling a naked 400 pound Kazakstanian. I laughed my ass off the entire time. So if you're one to laugh at that type of humor, you'll love this. If not, avoid like the plague.

Jesus Camp (7.5/10): It's a little freaky to see how some completely right wing Christians are teaching their kids religion, not so much because they're so religious, but because of how their religion manifests itself in their everyday lives. Kids are home schooled and taught that science is wrong. They're taught that those who don't believe as them are enemies. They're made to feel extremely guilty for any small "sin". They use religion as a tool for exclusion, judgment, and hate. It's a total perversion of everything that Jesus taught. And it happens every day somewhere in some backwater hick town. Scary.

Hot Fuzz (7.5/10): Sean of the Dead was a hilarious send up of the zombie movies that had come before it. One of the best qualities of the film is that it never got less funny the more times you watched it. Hot Fuzz was funny, but not nearly as clever as Sean of the Dead, and I also think it wouldn't hold up over multiple viewings. The movie was also a little disjointed with the first two thirds being focused on the comedic while the last third was focused on being completely over the top in regards to action. It's still better than most comedies you'll see this year, so that's a definite plus.

Wolf Creek (5/10): I tend to go pretty easy on horror movies because they're a guilty pleasure of mine. All you need is a decently engaging antagonist, some clever deaths, and a couple of twists and I'll have a decent enough time watching it. When a horror movie, such as Wolf Creek, is 75% boring set up and only 25% actual horror... well, then what you have is a very uneven and near unwatchable horror movie. I was honestly so bored for the first hour plus of this movie that I thought about turning it off. The final third of the movie is perfectly fine and has a wonderfully demented antagonist, but the arduous path a viewer has to take to get there is excruciating. For all the accolades this film garnered, I found it very lackluster.

Fearless (7/10): Martial arts movies, much like horror movies, usually adhere to a checklist of needed ingredients. With martial arts it is usually a few awesome fights (usually with unique set pieces), a lot of talk about honor, stilted acting, and a protagonist that learns something about himself. Fearless has all of these elements in spades. The story is pretty basic, with there being a little bit too much heavy-handedness in the message, which happens to be "you don't have to be bad to be a bad ass". The fights, especially one epic one on one battle in a restaurant, are exquisite. It's too bad they all take place in the first two thirds of the movie. The final fight at the end is more of an acted out scene than a fight, but it fits the plot so it's not all bad. Still, this is a solid martial arts flick, it a little bittersweet knowing that it is Jet Li's last martial arts movie.

The Fountain (9.5/10): Darren Aronofsky's first two films--Pi and Requiem for a Dream--are two of my favorite movies. Aronofsky's ability to craft dark, heady, unique films is truly amazing. For his third film, however, he takes his usual dark craft in a new direction and injects it with a little bit of melancholic hope. At times this seemingly disjointed film reaches the level unbelievable greatness by filling the viewer with heart-wrenching anguish coated in the enormity of the supreme question--what is death? This is a visually stunning, brooding, emotional movie that, frankly, everyone should see.

Tape (8/10): Movies adapted from plays are usually pretty hit and miss (more often miss). This film from Richard Linklater is one of the few hits. Focusing on only three characters, with one only being in the final third of the movie, this conversational film, which takes places solely in a hotel room, works because it feels real. As authentic as a movie can be, you relate to each character and by the time the climax of the movie hits, you have a relationship with each character.

The Science of Sleep (7.5/10): This was simultaneously a very entertaining and very frustrating film. Entertaining in that the mix of the main character's real world and dream world was well executed and visually interesting. Also, the interactions between the two main characters was cute, down to earth, and fun to watch progress. Where the movie was frustrating was in the final act of the film, especially the end scene. I have no problem with movies that contain open ended closings, but the final scene of this film left you completely out in left field wondering what the hell got you to this point (did you miss something?) and what the hell is going on (is there supposed to be something you're picking up on?). While the credits rolled, I longed for some tidbit of information to make the ending meaningful, but couldn't grasp anything. Barring this oddity, The Science of Sleep is a very funny, very cute romantic comedy.

Stranger than Fiction (7.5/10): I was expecting this to be more of a comedy (it does have Will Farrell in it after all), but it was most definitely a drama with some comedic elements thrown in. As a drama, it was quite interesting and held some very strong, emotional moments, but the story faltered every now and again, failing to keep me totally interested. Most of the funny moments aren't necessarily laugh-out-loud as they are slight chuckle funny. Still, Emma Thompson and Will Farrell were great in their respective roles. It's just too bad Queen Latifa had to be in it at all.

Ocean's 13 (8/10): Ocean's 11 was a quick paced, totally fun, guessing game, heist film that kept me entertained all the way through. Ocean's 12 bored me to tears and, ultimately, pissed me off when the ending was revealed. Ocean's 13 is extremely close to 11 in feel, dialogue, and fun. In fact, I would even go out on a limb and say that 13 was only slightly inferior to 11, simply because it lacks a little in originality being a sequel and all. The cast, again, was phenomenal. Pitt, Clooney, Damon, Cheadle--they're all great. Definitely a must see movie.

2 Days in the Valley (7/10): I had interest in seeing this since it starred James Spader, Jeff Daniels, an early Teri Hatcher, and Charlize Theron's first movie roll. I didn't know what it was really about, however. Turns out it was one of those "multiple plot lines converge as the movie goes on" type of films. The complete lack of any connecting fiber between stories at the beginning of the movie did leave me feeling a little cold and having some of the finer plot elements (such as character motivation, backstory, etc.) glossed over didn't help. It was still entertaining enough, however.

Saw III (6.5/10): The first two Saw movies were horror guilty pleasures for me. The third? Not so much. The first 15 minutes of the movie, I kid you not, have next to nothing to do with the overall plot of the movie. They're gory scenes just for gore's sake. The main plot line of the movie seemed to lack the urgency of the first two and the main torturee was a character you had no like for whatsoever. I felt no connection and didn't care if he lived, died, or whatever else. The ending, which tied everything together, was mildly interesting, but overall this was the weakest of the three Saw movies. It shouldn't be too hard to make the fourth one better.

Smokin' Aces (7.5/10): With a star filled cast and promises of blood drenched violence and action, I figured this would be a great action film. Well, it sort of was. I definitely enjoyed it for what it was--stupid, but well choreographed and filmed violence. There were attempts to be smart and unique, trying for a Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs type of feel, but they felt like bad homages. Ryan Reynolds and Jeremy Piven both turned in good performances. What really kept the movie from excelling, though, was the ending. It shed light on the rest of the movie and at the same time rendered the connection you had with some of the characters null and void.

Waiting for Guffman (7.5/10): Christopher Guest is a pretty funny writer. After having seen Best in Show I wanted to watch some of his other films. This mockumentary was enjoyable, but didn't have as many laugh out loud moments as I would have hoped. Some bits didn't really go anywhere (which may have been the point) in that they were either not serious enough or not over the top serious enough. They were just kind of in limbo. It was still an extremely funny movie with a stellar cast.

Transformers (4/10): Michael Bay, you just raped my childhood. I didn't expect much for a story, but somehow got even less than my already low expectations. Yes, this is a big, dumb action movie about transforming robots. That doesn't mean the story has to have SO many plot holes and inconsistencies and utterly stupid moments. Even more grating than the plot was the inability for the movie to establish what audience it was aiming itself at. It had a dumb story and was based on a toy property so it felt aimed at younger audiences in that respect. The action, however, was extremely visceral and "real" feeling in the amount of destruction caused. Most of the dialogue and gratuitous T&A shots were geared towards teenagers... so which audience was this movie for because I don't think it worked for any of them. The one plus, however, is that the special effects were sure pretty, but that alone just doesn't do it.

Reno 911: Miami (6/10): As much as I love the TV show and find it utterly hilarious, the movie had more failed bits than successes. I had some concerns that the concept of what is basically an improvised, played for laughs version of Cops wouldn't be able to be stretched to movie length and be consistently funny. And it wasn't. There are some really funny recurring bits, but many of the scenes felt forced. Stick to the television show for your Reno 911 fix.

Knocked Up (8/10): Judd Apatow is on a roll. He has been able to tap into funny concepts that are also endearing and made people laugh their asses off. Sporting many of the same actors from the hit The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up has the same comic stylings, which is great. As opposed to The 40 Year Old Virgin, this movie had less quotable lines and more funny overall scenes. It also helps that you felt a connection with the characters, even being set up in the unlikely scenario they were in. Funny, funny stuff.

1408 (7.5/10): The overall tone and execution of this film were both wonderful and dark, but in the end I failed to pull in any connections between all of the different "horrors" that John Cusak's character experiences and their importance to the character. Since this was billed as a psychological horror film, I expected there to be something to connect all the pieces and make the movie more than just a haunted house flick, but there really wasn't. Regardless, it was still a good movie that is head and shoulders above all of the lame torture porn movies rampaging through theaters.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (5.5/10): Having only seen the first Harry Potter movie (and hating it), going in to this film I found that it was hard to know why anyone was doing anything. Sure, I picked up the gist of this movie's storyline, but having not been entrenched in the Potter world I found I could care less about any of the characters since I didn't understand any of the underlying motives. Other than that, it was a decent fantasy flick with some notably terrible acting from the child actors. I'm sure Potter fans loved it. I didn't.

The Simpsons: The Movie (9/10): This is the real deal. Having been disappointed with the show for the last few years, my expectations were quite tempered, however, this ended up being extremely gut busting funny in classic Simpsons style. There are a number of new quotable lines that you can expect to be filtering into everyday vernacular, most notably the "Spider-Pig" lines. So far this is probably the funniest movie I've seen this year.

A Mighty Wind (7/10): Christopher Guest, the king of mockumentaries, puts together a film chronicling the reuniting of folk music's legends. It's decently funny, but lacks the amount of laugh out loud moments that Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman had. In fact, parts of the movie feel strangely like an actual documentary in that they lack the over the top nature that made Guest's other mockumentaries so fabulous. It is still a solid movie, just not as funny as I would have expected.

This Film is Not Yet Rated (8/10): I'm sure everyone has, at times, questioned why a certain movie received the rating it did. I do quite often. I also find myself wondering why it only takes a slip of a nipple to make something R, when it takes at least a bloody double-digit body count to get an R rating if there are no nipples or f-bomb dropping. It was quite interesting to see how closed off and out of touch the MPAA really is, but on the other hand, the investigative method used (hiring a horribly annoying private investigator) was often very amateur. If the PI sections of this documentary were left out and more focus was given to the secretive, cultish behavior of the MPAA it could have been a perfect 10.

Brick (8/10): I may be in the minority, but I loved this movie. Not so much because it was a cinematic masterpiece, but because it was a wonderful throwback to noir movies of ages past. This is, essentially, a film noir movie as portrayed in a modern high school. For anyone who doesn't view the movie as an homage, it will no doubt seem boring, cliched, and overacted. Viewed as an homage, it is a clever movie that takes the well established noir archetypes and injects them into a modern high school setting.

Bridge to Terabathia (5.5/10): Talk about a movie that takes a monster of a detour halfway through. The movie starts off as a fun, light tale of a blossoming friendship with themes of being imaginative, not conforming, and being open to new ideas permeating the narrative. Then at about the 2/3 mark of the movie, it shifts completely into a depressing, downtrodden, and listless examination of how to deal with the loss of a friend. It was so promising... and then so disappointing. It's not the happy-go-lucky fun film the previews portrayed and will probably make kids feel a little uncomfortable and sad when watching it.

Vacancy (8.5/10): A short but tense thriller. The standard horror plot macguffin of having a couple get stranded in the middle of nowhere with only one particular hotel/house/area to go to for help is used to get the story going, which made me wonder if it would even be worth my time. Thankfully the execution of the movie is what kept it afloat. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale were both very real and did a nice job of playing such typecast roles. A couple of interesting "surprise" moments kept the movie flowing quickly and kept me very interested.

Stardust (8.5/10): Some critics have hailed this as a modern Princess Bride and I would agree that this is a very apt comparison. As opposed to many of the recent fantasy movies to be released, Stardust is all about fun instead of trying to be overly serious or about some huge, world changing event/item. Everything about the movie simply screams "fun"! It is definitely geared at a younger crowd, but there is plenty to enjoy for adults. The cast had wonderful performances all around. True, Robert De Niro's character did feel a little forced at times, but it was still a hilarious character. Claire Daines was magnificent as the fallen star. And everyone else was solid as well. A great family film.

Superbad (9/10): Superfunny is probably a better title. I don't think I've laughed so hard during a movie in a long time. The cast is phenomenal, the story is crazy, yet believable, the one-liners are infinitely quotable, and you won't stop laughing the entire time. Sure, it's raunchy and contains mostly crude humor, but that's really the point of the movie--to be crass, but in a hilarious manner. Seriously, go see this movie and laugh your ass off.

The Good Shepherd (8/10): This is a movie I'd wanted to see since it hit theaters, but never took the time to dive in because of its extreme length (it's 2.5+ hours long). All of the run time is put to good use, focusing not only on what it was to be a spy in the 40's, 50's, and 60's, but on what the implications were on the characters' relationships, personalities, and lifestyles. There is little to no action as the focus is so much on the characters, which gives this movie a more contemplative feel as opposed to simply running through another thriller/mystery plot. The cast is exceptional as well. If you have the time to dedicate to it, this is a fairly good movie.

The Bourne Ultimatum (8.5/10): The Bourne movie trilogy is probably one of the best of my generation (barring The Lord of the Rings trilogy). It takes the archetype of James Bond, removes all the gimmicks, adds a ton of grit, and pours on the badassery. I prefer Supremacy and Identity to Ultimatum, but Ultimatum only barely trails those two. Again, you get a smart, visceral, real feeling action movie that doesn't pull any punches. The only thing keeping this movie from surpassing the first two is a weaker than expected climax. It is the big reveal and I didn't feel as if it was all that big, even though it answered the question Bourne had been asking since the start of the first movie--"Who am I?"

Fracture (6.5/10): I had high hopes for this movie and even when it was over I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't warm up to it. Both Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling turn in good performances. The movie keeps you interested. The dialog is well written (if a little over dramatic towards the end). However, the plot has some pieces that really irked me, such as not being able to really pull all the pieces of the movie together until the big reveal (not all of the clues are made available to the viewer). Also, the first part of the film was pretty slow moving and the subplot of Gosling's character and his new boss was pretty terribly written. However, the movie is entertaining if you don't think too hard.

Marie Antoinette (6/10): What's the point of this movie? Really, I'm still trying to figure it out. The whole thing was basically a biopic about Marie Antoinette that lacked any substance. Sure, you saw what her life was like, but without getting any insight into the character or meaning from learning about her. The whole movie, as pretty as it was, felt hollow.

Sunshine (9.5/10): This is easily one of the better sci-fi movies I've seen in ages. There are not nearly enough sci-fi movies hitting the cinema today, and this one was hard enough to track down as its release was pushed back multiple times and then it was only released to a limited amount of theaters, so when a sci-fi movie does get released it's a heck of a treat to have it be this good. As opposed to most recent sci-fi films, Sunshine is a tense, smart, and somewhat hopefully depressing movie. It feels real. And that is essential to having a good sci-fi movie. The tone throughout the movie is very similar to what I got from The Fountain. A sense of hopelessness permeates the characters, but within that hopelessness embodied in the characters is a collective hope for something better, beyond the characters. Danny Boyle has given us this year's sci-fi favorite.

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